Pat Colwell has done a lot both politically and musically — it is the latter that I’m highlighting today. He’s put together a rocking, soulful band known as the Soul Sensations, and that collective has just released a new CD titled “Take It!” which the guitarist/singer/songwriter sent to me ahead of this interview. He and his band will be hitting The Quarry Tap Room in Hallowell on Sunday, July 15, from 2 to 5 p.m. To that end, I called Colwell at work in Brunswick on June 21 to discuss both the album and the shows he’s got planned for July and August. He began by asking if I had received the record yet.

Q: That I did; many thanks. Now, you’ve got a CD-release show coming up in Hallowell soon, don’t you.

COLWELL: Our Hallowell CD-release is July 15 outdoors at The Quarry. It’s an amphitheater out there. He’s got a pretty nice set-up; there’s a lot of tables, but there’s also a whole concert area with a big stage. It’s nice, yeah, and we’re looking forward to it — it should be a really great turnout. We did release it Saturday, actually, at the Maine Blues Festival over in Naples. We got a terrific reception, people just loved the material.

Q: Did they buy some of the CDs there?

COLWELL: I sold a whole bunch of them, yeah. I initially had it scheduled to be released on June 2 for a Johnson Hall concert that we were doing but it didn’t make it. But we got it out now and I’m really happy with the way it came out.

Q: And you should be. Talk about something where the energy and enjoyment comes through the music — that’s it in a nutshell here.

COLWELL: Well, I really appreciate that, thank you. I’ve told you this before, but back in school everybody was playing The Beatles and The Stones, and I love those guys, but I was listening to Wilson Pickett and James Brown and Sam & Dave. I just love soul music and blues and rhythm & blues. A lot of the songs that I wrote for this came out of that love. I think any musician will tell you the same thing: you’re kind of the sum of everything that’s ever happened or you’ve ever heard in your life. So a lot of this stuff was just stewing around in there and I wanted to do an album that was very true to the whole Motown and Stax Volt and Muscle Shoals, that tradition. I just love it and I feel really good about the way it came out. It’s not a copy album, but it’s true to those traditions and I’m really pleased with it.

Q: Another thing I like about it is that even though there are some covers on there, it sounds like an entire concept — it all works together beautifully into a seamless whole.

COLWELL: I appreciate that and I think they are our tribute to those covers, you know what I mean? … They are definitely the way we do them and the way I hear them. I’ll admit that I was reluctant to put that Leonard Cohen song on there, because Joe Cocker did it so well. But I think we made “Bird on a Wire” our own and I was really pleased with the way it came out. That’s one of those covers where you open a vein and just sing. Oh, I don’t know if you noticed, but I did bass on a number of those songs and evidently I have a future as a bass player!

Q: What other gigs have you got in the works for this summer — any you can talk about?

COLWELL: We’re working with Paul Benjamin (co-founder of the North Atlantic Blues Festival), he’s taken over the Maine Lobster Festival from Chuck Kruger. Paul’s got us headlining the whole lobster festival on Saturday night, Aug. 4 this year. He really digs our soul sound and so we’re going to be headlining that.

Q: Speaking of “we,” you have a really tight group of artists you call the Soul Sensations.

COLWELL: I’m blessed with a bunch of really talented musicians. I’ve been bringing them into this whole sound and they’re getting it, they’re loving it.

Q: Yeah, that comes through loud and clear on the CD, for sure. Now seeing this album just came out recently…

COLWELL: Last Saturday afternoon, June 16, down in Naples.

Q: Seeing it’s so new, it’s probably silly to inquire about anything new you’re working on, right?

COLWELL: Well, I actually have started writing a few new songs.

Q: Oh, really?

COLWELL: Well, we haven’t done a Colwell Brothers’ record for a few years, and my brother’s after me to put some material together for that. So it’s a ways off, but I have been working on that. But I also have some ideas for a follow-up record for this band, as well — I’ve started working on it. But right now we really are focused on getting this thing out and playing live and just letting people hear it. You know, the great thing about playing soul music is that the minute you start playing, people are smiling and moving — I love that.

Q: Is there anything, Pat, that you’d like me to pass on to the folks reading this?

COLWELL: Well, we are going to be focusing on releasing this on the 15th at The Quarry (Tap Room) and all our fans, and particularly in the central Maine area, have been just fabulous. They show up for our concerts — we did a Motown Christmas show last year that we’re going to be reprising at the Civic Center again — and there are no better fans than the people in Maine. They all know my name, that’s for sure, and I know them and I love them. Also, most of my musicians are based out of the Hallowell area, so we’re really excited about doing this big party on the 15th of July there. (

Lucky Clark has spent 49 years writing about good music and the people who make it. He can be reached at [email protected] if you have any questions, comments or suggestions.

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